Patris Corde 3b: More Dreams, More Obedience

The annunciation was only the beginning for the dreams of the New Testament Joseph. The man’s attentiveness to the messages of angels continues, and the Holy Family is guided to safety thanks to the obedience of the heir of the House of David.

In the second dream, the angel tells Joseph: “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13). Joseph did not hesitate to obey, regardless of the hardship involved: “He got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (Matthew 2:14-15).

In Egypt, Joseph awaited with patient trust the angel’s notice that he could safely return home. In a third dream, the angel told him that those who sought to kill the child were dead and ordered him to rise, take the child and his mother, and return to the land of Israel (cf. Matthew 2:19-20). Once again, Joseph promptly obeyed. “He got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel” (Matthew 2:21).

Many commentators draw similarities with Saint Joseph and his namesake predecessor. Chiefly dreams and Egypt. We can say that the saint was indeed a dreamer, but he was not the political person the patriarch was. The evangelist presents his obedience as a simple and direct response to God’s call–very much like his wife.

During the return journey, “when Joseph heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. After being warned in a dream” – now for the fourth time – “he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22-23).

And so the Holy Family was settled in Nazareth, and there they lived a quiet and mostly hidden life.

 

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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